I recently had water leak from the pipe connector that connects the faucet and the dishwasher under the kitchen sink. There was a cabinet under the sink, and there was a big hole in the cabinet's bottom (for pipes to go through): enter image description here

Thus, the water got through the hole to the floor and damaged it. It was kind of hard to detect the leak because it was small and the leaked water got hidden under the cabinet.

My question is that Is there any thing I could do so that if there is water leak, the water will go out of the cabinet and be visible, instead of going underneath it? The goal is just to detect the leak as soon as possible.

  • 5
    you could tie a rag aroudn it when it gets damp and moldy there is a leak Feb 17, 2021 at 11:55
  • @ratchetfreak - haha, that serves me right for answering the question as asked. That's exactly what I did when I was struggling to identify which of several hard-to-reach pipes had a tiny leak. Sometimes, though, it's hard to differentiate between a minuscule leak & just the cold feed sweating in humid weather.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 17, 2021 at 11:57
  • 1
    Get a plastic tray or something and divert the water towards the front of the cabinet. Or just fix the leak and assume it won't happen again.
    – Phaelax z
    Feb 17, 2021 at 14:49
  • @Phaelaxz - a tray would be less than useless, as you can't get it under any of the lowest points on any of those pipes.
    – Tetsujin
    Feb 18, 2021 at 9:36

4 Answers 4


Have you ever heard the phrase "Lightning never strikes twice"?
I think you're trying to prepare for an accident that is unlikely to happen again.

Sure, you can re-floor the cupboard, wedge it slightly at the back to ensure it slopes towards you, cut as best you can round the pipes, perhaps keep a fillet as insert round the back of the larger pipe, then gob it all in with silicone, including tanking the edges so the only way water can go is out the cupboard door. Don't use good glue & don't run the silicone underneath except for a couple of stabilising dots, just in case you do ever need it out again.

Then wait to see if it ever happens again. For most people, two leaks in a lifetime would be a fair average… and in two different places, unless they have a poor fix the first time.

As mentioned in comments, you could tie a small piece of cloth round each & see if one shows signs of damp &/or mould… but your cold feed is likely to sweat (condensation will form) in humid weather, so that could be misleading.

  • Thanks for your very detailed answer! I really hope that it would not happen again :)
    – Thanh Bui
    Feb 19, 2021 at 7:18

Seems to me that your best bet is to focus on fixing it properly so that it doesn't leak instead of worrying about leak detection.

To answer the question as asked:

Store some things under the sink that you use regularly (weekly to monthly), just get in the habit for looking/feeling for unusual amounts of moisture under there every time you get something out. Where I live, no moisture at all would be normal, so any amount of damp would be cause for additional attention. In some parts of the world, heat and humidity are high enough that there may be condensation on a somewhat regular basis, so learn what's "normal" and look for "abnormal" levels.


While I agree this is overkill, in cases where it's important, you can buy a Leak Detector, which is an electronic device that detects the presence of water and alerts you - either with sound, or modern ones will connect to an app and tell you that way. There are inexpensive ones, relatively speaking ($40-$50), though I don't know how well they work compared to the really good ones which are several hundred dollars.

It's not cheap, and probably not needed in this case, but it's probably cheaper than any physical option that requires redoing the flooring or something significant to the cabinet.

  • 1
    The cheap ones work reasonably well, but you do need to be sure that (1) you can hear their beeping from under the cabinet, and (2) you can get to it and change the batteries as needed, including hearing the low battery chirp. My 'reasonable' comment is based on actual use in a laboratory situation where we had occasional chilled water leaks in back corners of labs.
    – Jon Custer
    Feb 17, 2021 at 23:36
  • I bought a cheap water leak detector, which will beep at around 90db. Hope that it is enough
    – Thanh Bui
    Feb 19, 2021 at 7:19

Beside all the options that are mentioned above, I found this leak protection for cabinet from Ikea: https://www.ikea.com/fi/fi/p/variera-vuotosuoja-kaappiin-60281993/

It is basically plastic cover for the cabinet's bottom, which I think, is more useful than a drip tray under the cabinet.

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